October 16, 2009

It is Good to Be Home!

The post you are about to read was written last Wednesday, October 7th, after I arrived home from vacation. As you know from the posts that went up at the end of last week, I was unable to put up a post for a variety of personal and internet reasons. I tell you this so that you will not be confused by the timing here. Enjoy!

Yesterday morning as the sun came up, I was crying as we loaded the kids in the car to head home. We had a wonderful time of fellowship and rest that was much needed and long overdue. It was a blessing to have no interruptions into our family time, couple time and most importantly some good time with the Lord. But I knew I would be glad to get home. It is like that every year.

This time as we made our way through the early morning rush hour in Savannah we played a new game. What will make you the most happy to be at home? This game was more for me than for the kids. They always come and go and roll with the punches with little affectation.

I couldn’t quite put my finger on why I would be glad to get home. All I could think of was all the distractions. All the work to catch up on. The fact that it would be another year before we would have such a time of tranquility again. The cold weather and the rain. It is always raining when we get home from vacation.

And as we drove North the weather was rainy and became increasingly cooler. I was shivering most of the night. That drop from 90 to 66 was quite a shock.

But as we passed time in the ridiculous traffic around the D.C. beltway my mood changed from sad to leave vacation behind to excited to be getting home. The last hour from the metro area to our house was similar to that of the feeling late in the afternoon on the eve of Christmas.

When I got out of the car and caught the first sight of my garden I was immediately disheartened to see my plants were all dead. Despite three care takers, it was dried up and completely done for. It seems that despite the unusually wet summer, the last few weeks (normally rainy) were unusually dry. My garden and planters were the casualties.

And yet, the feeling of joy and relief when I walked through the door was wondrous as all thoughts of where I was 11 hours before disappeared altogether.

We were welcomed by a banner and dinner in the fridge from my parents. Now how is that for love? Lasagna, bread, lemonade, fruit and ice cream all ready to say, “I am glad you are back.”

On the wipe board (Remember that?) was a detailed account of the daily care of our animals in our absence. How is that for diligence?

I quickly began the joyful task of putting things in order and getting the family, fed, bathed and unpacked. Ready to start fresh and rested for our fall and the tasks at hand including another trip this weekend and school. (Read this post to see how that turned out.)

But the welcome committee did not end there! Oh, no. Check this out.

Thousands of stink bugs. Or what we prefer to call leaf bugs. It just sounds nicer, doesn’t it? They were everywhere! These critters have shown up every fall upon our return from vacation for the last three years. Their numbers become more abundant each year. The first time they came, my husband told me they must have come from the plants I brought in from our deck before we left on vacation. We didn’t know what they were. We’d never seen them before. They looked like a leaf so we began calling them just that-leaf bugs.

Aedan swore they smelled bad but we thought he was just being silly. One night in the middle of the night, he drank one. The normally unmovable child, let out an unpleasant yelp and said his water tasted like leaf bugs. We brushed it off and put him back to bed. Sure enough if there was not one in his cup in the morning.

They didn’t seem to do much harm and there were just a dozen or so. The kids named them, Charlie, Bill, Fred and such, and the guys hung around until spring. They didn’t bother me much but my good husband could not stand them. They irritated him so much.

The following March, we took a trip to Berkley Springs for a long weekend romantic getaway. (OK Elisabeth was a newborn and the truth is all we did was sleep and play with her the whole time but the kids don’t need to know that, right?) I made a candlelight dinner with all Allen’s favorite foods. I even brought steaks cut in the shape of a heart from our favorite and the only butcher we use.

I put on some music, lit the candles, settled Ellie in her bed and called my darling to the table. When we sat down, who do you think was waiting there to join us? Um, yeah. Ricardo. He had traveled with us all the way from home.

Nathaniel had a particular affinity for the critters. He cried when one crawled up a dinner candle and landed in the hot wax, securing his doom, one night. If the child caught someone putting one outside in the cold, or down the toilet (may God forgive me) he would go into a fit.

Last fall, when we returned from vacation, there were a considerable greater amount of the little dudes. I began to have doubts as to the origin of them. Believing my plants were responsible for the plague, I had left them on the deck to dry out in our absence. Which cost me some lovely house plants, by the way. And yet, here they were. And in greater numbers!

That night, we spotted a mouse in the basement. Allen called our exterminator who showed up the next morning. When he asked, “What is the problem? Please don't say stink bugs!" We asked what stink bugs were and he described them. We grabbed one of our "leaf bugs" and showed it to him. "That's a stink bug," our faithful exterminator explained. He went into long frustrated detail about how you can not get rid of them. He has been on call after call attempting to kill the pests. All it does is cause them to emit a very bad smell.

Which we had already found out. We had vacuumed them up only to have to leave the vacuum outdoors for the terrible odor.

The next morning the front of our local newspaper highlighted the epidemic of stink bugs in our county. And here I had spent a year feeling guilty for bringing them into our lives and bothering my dear husband and I had nothing to do with it at all!

Alas, it seems that when they die, they let off this odor. And that odor attracts yet more stink bugs. Our house, being empty at the exact time that they are attempting to find a place to winter over, presents them with a safe haven. By the time we return they have already stunk the place up sufficiently to attract any of the little critters within a half mile radius.

And yet, be it ever so stinky, it is good to be home!



  1. Hi! I dropped in from Lidj's. She always has such inspiring words that pour from her like rain.

    I really like your blog. It seems so real.

    Did you vacation Savannah, GA? I lived there almost 7 years. What a special city it is!

    Blessings to you, dear friend, as you serve the Lord and your precious family!

    In Jesus,


  2. Oh dear! I'm afraid the stink bugs would "bug" me...I'm with Allen on this one! We used to have a lady bug infestation in the fall. There is only so many times you can sing the Lady bug, Lady bug, fly away home song. :)

  3. P.S. I'm really glad your home also! I missed your sweet comments!

  4. Even the stink bugs had a welcome home party for you!

    Blessings and prayers, andrea

  5. That was a rather...um...enlightening post. :)
    Sorry (well, not really sorry) to say, we have no such problem here. I can't remember when we saw one of those stinky critters last.

  6. I hope that didn't sound too cold. I feel for you. I really do. Ok, I'm just going to stop before I say something really stupid.

  7. I am glad that you are home.
    Yucky bugs to welcome you though! I agree with Hope. I hate bugs, in my house anyway! They belong in their own environment, not in mine! :)

  8. I've read a couple other blogs where people are having the same stink bug problem! That's one we don't have...but we sure seem to have every other critter!

  9. whoaaaaa. . . . lots of stink bugs, that is why I really hate them, they really are infesting our houses. and even our crops they causing damage to them. . . grrr.. .. ....